The Story of SpaceX
Since time immemorial, the human mind has looked up at the stars and wondered, “What’s out there?”
While we have learned a lot about space over the centuries, there is still a lot to explore in terms of space travel. Innovations in space technology have enabled a lot of progress but the field of space travel still lags behind. The concept of space travel is complicated, expensive and is run totally by the government. As a result, there is no opportunity for scientists and physicists leading an industry of their own. Amidst all of this, a man emerges out with his big dream and determination to bring a change- for a better cause. Known to the world as Elon Musk, this man is a visionary who brought SpaceX into existence.
Birth of SpaceX
SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corporation) was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and the Co-founder of PayPal. SpaceX’s main goals are to create technology, to reduce space transportation cost and enable the colonization of Mars. Elon Musk says, “ I think we’re space-faring civilization and multi-planet species is very exciting and inspiring for some future and in order for that to happen, we have to dramatically reduce the cost of spaceflight.“
Elon’s initial mission was to create relatively inexpensive and reusable rockets that could have travel characteristics similar to current commercial airlines, that is, you can send anything from a spacecraft with people out to space, get back to the ground and be ready for next flight within a couple of hours. In early 2000’s, Elon approached the members of Russian space program thrice in order to gain access to a refurbished Russian rocket and to learn the system practically. Unfortunately, the deal failed. Post this he realized that he doesn’t need the help of any refurbished rocket, as the technology had remained unchanged since the 1960’s. Thus, for any real progress to be made, there needs to be a whole new way of doing things.
In 2002, Musk approached renowned rocket engineer Tom Mueller (now SpaceX’s CTO of Propulsion). Mueller agreed to work for Musk and hence, SpaceX was born!
Fun Facts about SpaceX
- The Founder of SpaceX, the guy who wants to take us around the orbits, was the co-founder of PayPal.
- SpaceX launched the first privately funded, liquid-fueled rocket to reach the low-earth orbit on September 28, 2008, called Falcon 1.
- It is on a mission to build a city on the Red planet- Mars, suitable for humans to live.
- It is the first privately funded company to successfully launch, orbit and recover a spacecraft in December 2010.
- Elon Musk has named his spacecraft ‘Dragon’ after the fictional “Puff the Magic Dragon’ from the hit song by Peter, Paul and Mary.
- Likewise, The Falcon 9 was named in homage to Han Solo’s blockade-running crafts from Star Wars, the Millennium Falcon. The number 9 represents its nine engines.
- SpaceX’s Dragon space capsule became the world’s first commercial spacecraft to launch into orbit and return to Earth safely. And do you know what the secret cargo it carried to space was? A wheel of cheese!
- SpaceX became the first private company to send a satellite into geosynchronous orbit in December 2013.
Goals of SpaceX
- The primary vision is to develop suitable development and resources for colonizing human on Mars.
- Musk believes that multi-planetary life can serve an important measure against threats to the survival of human species in the coming future.
- Apart from that, the real-life Tony stark (Elon Musk) unveiled the plans for new spacecraft, marking the first step towards colonizing the red planet.
- SpaceX is also moving towards building a base on the moon and allow commercial travel to anywhere on Earth under an hour.